12 June marks the World Day Against Child Labour. The issue is a global one, hidden in the fields, factories and mines that produce the goods we need. Around one child in every ten is involved in child labour, often in hazardous occupations within agriculture, mining and manufacturing. In Africa this climbs to one in five.
Our Child Labour Index, which measures the risk to business from association with the employment of children, identifies Africa as the world’s child labour hotspot. The continent accounts for seven of the ten riskiest countries on the Index, but trends over the past five years show that risks are climbing for millions of children worldwide.
The number of countries in the extreme risk category of the Index has swelled from 25 in 2017 to 30 today. 92 countries – including major manufacturing hubs like China, India, Vietnam and Bangladesh - have seen their Index scores deteriorate since 2017, with 81% of the world’s population now living in countries rated high or extreme risk for child labour.
With companies and investors under increasing reputational and regulatory pressure to stamp child labour out of the global supply chain, screening for social risks is a critical first step for any organisation looking to better understand its exposure to human rights abuses.